INDIAN GRAND PRIX 2009. If this line doesn't send chills down through your spine, probably you don't understand how huge this news is. Suresh Kalmadi, in rarest display of wisdom, announced that India will be hosting F1 race, as soon as 2009, at Delhi. Indian Olympics Association will be taking all the responsibilities for the same.
Since last few years there has been growing interest in Formula-1 in India. Majority of people became aware of the terms like Ferrari, Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, when Narain Karthikeyan debuted in Formula-1 in 2005 with Jordan team and became first Indian driver to do so. As of now, fan-following of India has been dedicated to Michael Schumacher and Ferrari, but India has definitely one of the prime market for Formula-1 in recent times.
"It is not vital to Formula One to be in the United States. There are bigger markets for us to be in other parts of the world. We could be in India soon instead of the United States", said F-1 boss Bernie Ecclestone. There had been various talks of Hyderabad hosting Formula-1, until Chandrababu Naidu, who initiated the talks, was thrown out of the power.
FOA (Formula One Association) has laid out lots of terms and conditions, but Kalmadi has promised to satisfy them all before September 20, 2007. FOA has lots of Infrastructure requirements pertaining to travel, accomodation of teams and supporting crews. eg., a city hosting F-1 needs to have 5000 five star hotel rooms for total crew including all teams and many more. India is already lacking behind in the schedule of 2010 commonwealth games, also being held at Delhi. Added responsibility of F-1 will surely add up lots of responsibilities, but we can only hope that Suresh Kalmadi lives upto his word, which doesn't go too well with his past records.
They need huge land to build the track around Delhi, which I am sure will take up loads of time in bureaucracy and add to it stadium building and other overhead. Tough times. I hope he does live upto it and this dream turns into a reality. If Delhi is indeed hosting 2009 Grand Prix, you bet I am there. Are you game?
(Cross-posted to DesiCritics)